If you’re reading an article on Gamepur, you may not be aware that this past weekend, September 10 to be exact, was the opening weekend for the 2023/2024 NFL (National Football League) season. That’s American Football for anyone east of Florida, a game where large, overpaid adults run into each other in pursuit of a shiny ring and a really large bowl.
For the gamers in chat, you may be more familiar with the sport’s digital counterpart, Madden. Although, if you aren’t really into sports beforehand, Madden or any 2K games probably aren’t your cup of tea. Luckily, this feature isn’t about the joys of virtual sports. It’s about Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s Teal Mask DLC and why the start of the NFL season is the perfect time for a new Pokemon experience.
The Year I Got Into Sports (& Hardcore Shiny Hunting)
While I’ve lightly shiny hunting over the years, first getting into the hobby in 2016 with Pokemon Sun & Moon, I’ve never been a sports guy. Growing up, all of my closest friends had their favorite NBA, NFL, and NCAA teams, and I even participated in several high school sports. However, I was more of a watch-the-commercials-during-the-Super-Bowl type spectator.
But then came 2022: the year I would dive into sports fandom. In an attempt to grow closer with my father, brother-in-law, and circle of sports-obsessed friends, I devised a game plan that involved picking teams for nearly every televised sport (professional and college) that I would become a die-hard fan of.
This led to a genuine interest in sports: the drama, the plays, the storylines. A man can skirt by aiding and abetting charges one week and go on to perform superhuman feats in front of millions the next. Last NFL season, a player was hit so hard that he died on the field and had to be resuscitated. But the peak entertainment comes during championships when the lowest-ranked team in a bracket someone manages to knock off a team with the highest odds of winning.
It’s thrilling and exhilarating, and try as you might; you never really know what’s going to happen until it does. But what does any of this have to do with Pokemon?
Scarlet & Violet’s Impeccable Timing & Endgame Loop
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet was released in November 2022, which is a serendipitous time frame for sports fans. You’re deep into the NFL season, hockey season has had a few snows, and professional basketball is just a few weeks away. So, if you weren’t planning on staying in every night already, now you have a reason almost every night to shout at your TV until the wee hours of the night.
But as a gamer, first, and sports fan second, it always felt like choosing between two hobbies. And that’s where Pokemon Scarlet & Violet came in. Now, forgive me for sounding like a tech-hip TikTok enjoyer with the attention span of a squirrel; I’ve put almost 300 hours in Scarlet & Violet, most of which was played while watching sports.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet could not have come at a better time for me. In addition to the late night I needed to put into the game for work, it also turned out to be the perfect sports companion game.
Say what you will about the game’s story and clunky launch, but the post-game loop of shiny hunting, training, and grinding through limited-time raids was the peanut butter to sports’ chocolate. Jimmy Butler and the Heat dominate the Cavaliers while I finally hatch a Shiny Froakie. Super Bowl Sunday? More like Shiny Hunting Soiree.
Offseason Ends & A New Story Begins
My dilemma with Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is that it isn’t much fun during the offseason. I think this is in part due to The Pokemon Company slowing down Tera Raid events, which made grinding Shinies and training them up feel a bit pointless.
It wouldn’t be until late June, following the NBA Playoffs (and a crushing end to Miami’s incredible win streak), that I would distance myself from Pokemon Scarlet & Violet. Without sports, there wasn’t an urge to play Gen 9, and I had also amassed over 100 Shinies during my nightly escapades. It was time for a break.
Of course, the Teal Mask DLC was looming in the distance, but it wasn’t until I realized its release date coincided with the first few days of the NFL and College football season that I was truly excited.
And as if reuniting with a best friend you hadn’t seen in years (or months, in my case), Pokemon and I fell back into the swing of things as the Detroit Lions clawed their way to a victory over the reigning Super Bowl champs, The Kansas City Chiefs.
I can’t explain why, but I get so much joy from this blend of activities. It awakens something hidden deep within me and merges two worlds that you don’t often see fraternizing. I love Pokemon, and I love sports, and there couldn’t possibly be a better time for the Teal Mask DLC to release for a fanatic like me.
So yes, I am very excited for the Pokemon Scarlet & Violet DLC, regardless of how short or mundane the story may be. I have hundreds of “new” Pokemon to hunt while watching hours and hours of unpredictable athletic feats. And I am certain that this new storyline, whatever it may be, will offer enough to hold me over until The Indigo Disc later this year.